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Police searching for person who shot, killed 4-year-old girl in Tampa

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Posted at 5:08 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 19:55:25-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — Tampa police are searching for the person, or people, responsible for killing a 4-year-old girl Sunday night along Hillsborough Avenue and 43rd street.

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“It was a scary moment," said Francisco Cancel, who is still trying to process what he saw. “It felt fake, it felt like I was dreaming, it’s a strange feeling. It’s a feeling that you gotta go through it to believe it."

Around 9 p.m. Sunday, August 22, Tampa police said a 4-year-old girl was shot and killed, and in security footage given to ABC Action News by a nearby business, you can see what happened.

"This is another senseless murder that's happened on the streets that we're looking for help," said Interim Tampa Police Chief Ruben Delgado.

Security footage of vehicles involved in deadly shooting

A silver Infiniti was driving westbound on Hillsborough Avenue when a second car comes into frame and begins to fire at the Infiniti from behind. Seconds later, the car takes off, and the Infiniti crashes into a utility pole.

“I’m a father of five so I did what any father [would do], I ran to the car," Cancel said. "[I] avoided the mom, I saw the mom was okay and went straight for the baby.”

Cancel says his biggest concern was to get the child out of the car because he says the pole looked like it was about to snap in half.

“That baby is in that car why can’t I be in the car with that baby? You know what I’m saying, why can’t I be? She’s in there, I’m gonna go in there with her," he said.

Cancel says he revived her a few times as he gave her CPR and tried to save her life.

On Monday afternoon, the family of that 4-year-old came by to share photos. They tell us her name is Suni Bell.

“Joyful person, laughing and loving, typical 4-year-old," said Antonio Gunn. "Going to school, ready for her pictures, you can tell by the pictures we sent in, [she was] lovable. lovable.”

4-year-old girl killed in Tampa shooting

Cancel hopes the person who did this takes ownership.

"I hope that his conscience eats them up enough where he said you know what I did wrong and you know what I want to man up and I’m gonna turn myself in," he said. "You killed a child, I think that should hurt you more, you should feel that more than anything you know what I mean?”

Mayor Jane Castor spoke at a press conference Monday evening. She said the community has got to get involved and people have got to start talking.

"We have got to stop the violence in our city," Castor said. "We had a 4-year-old girl who lost her life, and it may have been a case of mistaken identity."

As of now, Tampa police said they are looking at all possible options during this investigation. Assistant Chief Delgado said they are looking into the possibility of mistaken identity.

"We have leads, we're working on leads," Delgado said. "We know people saw what happened, know what happened. Those are the people we want to give us a call."

Tampa Bay Crime Stoppers is offering a $9,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at report anonymously online or send a mobile tip using their P3 Tips mobile application, which is a free download for iOS and Android.